Vietnamese artist Tran Trong Vu’s paintings on plastic entice visitors to explore, interact at ASU Art Museum exhibition

TEMPE, Ariz. – Nearly 100 life-sized Asian figures painted on transparent plastic will create a labyrinth for visitors to the Arizona State University Art Museum during the exhibition Blue Memory: Paintings by Tran Trong Vu, held Feb. 7 – May 1, 2004

Tran Trong Vu is a Vietnamese expatriate living in Paris who was the youngest son of Tran Dan, a revolutionary writer and poet of the 1940s and ’50s who was jailed and then lived under virtual house arrest the remainder of his life. Vu was deeply influenced by his father’s work and has created bold paintings that reflect the westernization of Vietnamese culture. 

“Vu’s striking paintings of schematic figures on suspended sheets of plastic explore what it means to be Asian and Vietnamese within the context of an increasingly westernized global culture,” says Heather Sealy Lineberry, senior curator. Lineberry planned the exhibit with ASU humanities professor Dr. Nora Taylor, a scholar of Southeast Asian art. “Vu’s work reflects not only the westernization of Vietnamese life, but the way Asian culture is viewed by the West – as a monolithic culture instead of a diverse reality.” 

Born in Hanoi in 1964, Vu studied at the Hanoi University of Fine Arts from 1982 to 1987. In 1989 he was awarded a scholarship to the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris and remained in Paris to live and work, visiting Vietnam infrequently. Vu describes the Blue Memoryexhibit as a play on the ambiguity of memory – historical, emotional and political. 

An opening reception for Blue Memory will be held from 7-9 p.m., Feb. 7, coinciding with the exhibitions Landscape in the Fireplace: Paintings by Pedro Alvarez and Personal Doping: Video Installations by Agnieszka Kalinowska. During a two-week residence at ASU, Vu will speak to university and high school art classes and lecture with Taylor. The first gallery lecture will be held in the museum at noon, Feb. 13, and the second – a panel discussion on globalization and contemporary art – will be held from 7-9 p.m., Feb. 24.

The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America, is part of the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University. The museum is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street in Tempe and entry is free. Hours are 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Tuesdays (during the academic year), and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call (480) 965-2787 or visit the museum online at

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay